AP drops ‘illegal immigrant’ phrase

Updated
By msnbc staff
File photo: A silent counter demonstrator holds up a sign as thousands of immigrants rights supporters march through Phoenix, Tuesday, May 1, 2007, toward...
File photo: A silent counter demonstrator holds up a sign as thousands of immigrants rights supporters march through Phoenix, Tuesday, May 1, 2007, toward...
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

It’s not just the GOP that’s trying to modify its stance on immigration lately.

The Associated Press announced Tuesday that it would no longer use the term “illegal immigrant.” Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said in a statement:

The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.


But the AP said it also rejected the term “undocumented immigrant,” the favored term for many immigration activists, calling it “not precise.”

The move is a big deal because the AP style guide is used by countless other publications. Indeed, New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan reacted to the news by announcing that her paper, too, is mulling a similar move.

The news comes as Congress is at work on a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws, including a potential “path to citizenship” for many of those here illegally.

AP drops 'illegal immigrant' phrase

Updated